Usually when a government decides to regulate or modify in any way the market people end up unhappy–regardless of what they do. Maybe it is true that they end up making more mistakes than succeeding, but right now they are the ones who can take the privacy issue seriously.
I’m going to quote Steve Case from his book The Third Wave:
“Government’s role in the Third Wave will be critical in two key ways: as a regulator and as a customer. The regulatory aspect will be especially complicated as government officials weigh all kinds of new and novel challenges. Internet of Things sensor and tracking technology will give companies unprecedented access to an extraordinary level of detail about our everyday lives: not just what food you purchase but your eating habits; not just how much energy you use but how cold you like it when you sleep at night.”
Big tech companies won’t look for the public interest. That’s a given (even though at some point I thought they were actually going to make the world “a better place”). And what happens when you mix free products with psychological persuasion techniques is that people won’t care about privacy while they get their dopamine.
People are aware of what Facebook does. But why do they continue to use their “free” products? It’s not that they don’t care–it’s that they are not fully aware of what really goes on and the consequences of giving up their privacy.
And this is exactly the right time for governments of the world (not just Europe) to take this issue seriously with the public interest in mind. At that point, it won’t matter if people continue to use theit products, in the end, governments are the ones who can truly make the change we need once and for all.